Portland Health News 2022 – Portland Mercury

In the height of the first Omicron surge in late 2021, COVID testing—both at-home tests and appointments with testing clinics—was scarce. One independent testing company, the Center for Covid Control (CCC), opened three testing sites in the Portland area during the surge, offering rapid and antigen testing services for free. However, two Portlanders who visited the CCC testing sites reported concerning experiences about the validity of their tests to the Oregon Department of Justice.
Four months after receiving the complaints, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum launched an investigation into the testing company which eventually led to a lawsuit. Rosenblum accused CCC of deceptive marketing of its testing services and alleged that the company owners funneled millions of federal funding intended to cover the cost of testing into their own pockets.
COVID-19 vaccines for children 5 years old and younger were approved by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration in June, approximately 18 months after vaccines first became available to adults in the US. As of mid-November, approximately 32,800 Oregon children under 5 received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. By mid-December—after regional health officials urged vaccination amid rising respiratory infection rates—those numbers had risen to about 34,700, or 15.6 percent of Oregon youth under 5.
Oregon spent $2.45 million to develop a digital vaccine card generator that was used by 62,350 people as of December 1. That works out to about $39 per unique download. The state health authority was criticized for rolling out the digital vaccine card tool after many COVID-19 restrictions—like indoor vaccine requirements—were being lifted, which may have resulted in lower downloads. But health leaders aren’t using the download rate to measure the success of the tool. Rather, Oregon prioritized hosting community listening sessions for feedback on the pilot and launching the digital tool in 13 languages.
Thousands of Portlanders gathered downtown on June 24 to protest the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending Americans’ constitutional right to abortion services. The ruling wasn’t a surprise—a draft of the opinion had been leaked the month prior—but it elicited major reactions from Portlanders who rallied for speeches from local abortion providers and marched through downtown.
The right to an abortion is enshrined in Oregon law, meaning the Supreme Court ruling had no immediate impact on access to abortion services for Oregonians. The state, instead, has seen an influx of out-of-state visitors seeking health care. The Oregon Legislature dedicated $15 million to Oregon organizations that provide financial support for people seeking an abortion in Oregon.


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